Larbert High School

Secondary 2 Designing a Stained Glass Window for Strathcarron Hospice


The school has a strong community partnership with Strathcarron Hospice and are often involved with fund raising, to support the work of the Hospice, or art activities to brighten up the Hospices common areas.  The Hospice comprises of two main buildings that are only connected via the link corridor.  This is a busy corridor used by most staff, residents and visitors.  The corridor has windows along both its sides. however, unfortunately one side looks onto a very drab and uninteresting area trapped between the two buildings.  The Hospice staff thought that this would make an ideal project for the school to get involved with.

Funding for the Hospice is limited to voluntary contributions so a budget for this project was limited.  They had also recently upgraded all of the windows and fittings in the corridor so it wasn't a great idea to disturb any of the safety features.  I suggested that we could execute the final design either with vinyl overlays or, depending on the nature of the design, as a full printed vinyl decal.

The secondary 2 pupils were already studying landscapes so they were the prime class to start this project. I introduced them to the basics of designing for stained glass, namely keep the lines simple, the shapes simple and the colours simple.  They had been studying Vincent Van Gogh so I dovetailed an exercise into their syllabus that used lavender fields similar to those painted by the great artist.

The pupil's teacher and I carried out a site visit and interviewed the staff.  We gained a better insight to the use of the corridor and the buildings history.  We noted design features around the Hospice and listened carefully to the likes and dislikes of the staff; all very valuable information, such as not including any little creatures.  I augmented this visit with some in depth research of the area and its history and later presented all of this information to the pupils as we launched the design brief.

The pupils wee all encouraged to carry out some research and to commit an initial design to paper.  We then encouraged each of them to refine their design and regularly held group crit sessions to share ideas and encourage creativity.

All of the final designs were sent to the Hospice staff who fed back their comments and they shortlisted four preferences.  I took all of this feedback and preferred designs and created a composite design for consideration.  This was well received and approved.  I then liaised with a local sign writer & livery artist and discussed the installation options.  We produced two sample boards of printed vinyl and held a meeting with the Hospice staff.  This was really useful as it also provided the opportunity to ensure nothing else was required of the design, what printing method to use and also to start planning the installation.

Due to the run up to Christmas being a very busy period it has been agreed to carry out the work in early January.

This was an excellent group activity with all of the pupils contributing to the final design.  Well done S2.